Tomatillo Salsa

Every year for Christmas, J and I invite our families to a Christmas Eve Mexican inspired feast. The tradition sprung out of our time in San Antonio where tamales are often given as gifts. Our favorite salsa is the wonderful green Tomatillo Salsa and we finally found a recipe that rivals the homemade ones we had in Texas. Now if only we could master the tamales in time for the holiday…

Ingredients:
2 pound tomatillos husked (most of the ones we found in our local grocer were mostly husked already. Be ware: they are sticky!)
2 white onion, peeled, sliced, quartered
8 Garlic cloves
4  jalapenos
4  teaspoons Ground cumin
2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 lime, juiced

Directions:
On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapenos for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky. Transfer all but 1 cup of your tomatillo salsa to a serving dish or bowl for later, leaving that last 1 cup in the food processor.

My opinion:
If I’m not careful when we make this, I end up eating half of it with tortilla chips before I can add it to any dish. So good!

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Shrimp Paesano

Note: this isn't the best photo. The shrimp is really closer to golden brown than burned. Promise. I was just too hungry to wait to take a better photo.

When J and I lived in San Antonio, we used to love to eat in Paesanos outdoor dining room. Especially in the middle of “winter” when they had the heat lamps going and the sunsets were amazing. We often ordered their signature dish, Shrimp Paesano (first dish on the link), which is amazing. Unfortunately, when we left from San Antonio, we couldn’t find a restaurant with similar flair in Columbia. After much trial and error, J finally recreated the dish for our recent anniversary after stumbling across this recipe online. It’s been about four years since I’ve eaten the real dish, but this recreation was so close I could almost see the beautiful sunset view.

Shrimp Ingredients:
2 pints half-and-half cream
salt & pepper , to taste
1 lb jumbo shrimp, about 20,  peeled, deveined, tails left on (We actually removed them for easier eating)
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Sauce Ingredients:
1 egg yolk
1 ½ cups butter, cold, cut into 1 inch pieces (cold is the key!)
1 medium lemon, juiced
4 garlic cloves , minced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Shrimp Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 400º F. Soak shrimp in half and half for at least 30 minutes. Drain shrimp and dust lightly in flour. Sauté shrimp in vegetable oil for 5 minutes on one side in a medium-high skillet. Do not let the shrimp burn.  You will have to do in batches so that you do not overcrowd. Do not turn shrimp. Remove shrimp and place in a baking dish, sautéd side down, and place in pre-heated oven. Turn to BROIL and broil for 5 minutes.

Sauce Direction:
Mix egg yolk and lemon juice in half the butter in a sauce pan and stir over low heat until butter is melted; take off heat. Add garlic and remaining butter and return pan to heat. Stir briskly until butter melts and sauce thickens. (Add a small amount of half and half to thicken if you like.) Add chives and parsley (we were out). Pool sauce in plates and top with linguini and shrimp. Serve immediately.

My Opinion:
As mentioned above, I love this dish. It’s the perfect meal. Light and heavy at the same time. The sauce is decadent and delicious with bread. J makes a lot of great dishes, but this one is about perfect.